Formatting the Thesis

Thesis Styles

The University of Delaware has developed styles for formatting a thesis. If you are using Microsoft Word or LaTeX to write your thesis, you need to download the style files and write the thesis in the correct file, to ensure that it is formatted correctly. If you are using Microsoft Word and struggling with the styles, please contact Adam at If you are using LaTeX, please contact your department.

Styles For Microsoft Word

Styles For LaTeX

Links to Help You Get Started

Samples of Past Theses

Guide to Using LaTeX

Videos from Past Formatting Sessions

Powerpoint from Past Formatting Sessions


Format Review

Students must attend a format review with Undergraduate Research Program staff to receive instructions for final submission and the bond paper you need to print your title page, signature approval page, and abstract upon. At the review, staff will sit and go through parts of your thesis document with you to make sure it is formatted correctly and nothing stands out as a problem. Please schedule your formatting review ideally 2 – 3 weeks before your thesis defense.

Formatting Tips

Pop Out the Styles

For easier access to the styles in Microsoft Word, click open the “Home” tab. Over in the section on the home tab, look for “styles.” Below “change styles” there should be a small pop-down arrow. Clicking the arrow will pop out a tool box where styles are easier to view. If not all styles are available there, click “Options…” at the bottom of the Styles tool box. It will open “Style Pane Options” and in the drop down box below “Select styles to show:” choose “All.” This will give you everything (and probably more than you need)!

Formatting the Signature Page

In addition to your thesis committee, your Signature Page must have a space for a fourth signature. Our office will get this signature for you. You are responsible only for your thesis committee’s signatures.

Fourth signature for DWD: Michael Chajes, Ph.D. Chair of the University Committee on Student and Faculty Honors

Fourth signature for HDWD: Earl Lee II, Ph.D. Director, University Honors Program

Also, make sure to put in your committee’s names and departments in the appropriate spaces on the Signature Page (otherwise it will read like “department of department name” and silly things like that).

Formatting the Title Page

Your title page will list your degree. Use these guidelines:

  • DWD Examples:
    • Bachelor of Arts in Art Conservation with Distinction
    • Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with Distinction
  • HDWD Examples:
    • Honors Bachelor of Arts in History with Distinction
    • Honors Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with Distinction Engineering
  • Exception: *Engineering is an exception in that students will not include “arts” or “sciences.”
    • Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with Distinction Honors
    • Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with Distinction

Any students who are confused on what degree to put and/or unsure of the proper program title should contact either their thesis director or our office.

Leader dots

Leader dots are a kind of tab.

  • Access the Paragraph dialogue box (button to the right of the word ‘Paragraph’ in the Home menu).
  • In the lower left hand corner, select ‘Tabs…’ Now you have the Tabs dialogue box and can set specific kinds of tabs.
  • The ‘Tab stop position’ tells the tab how far to go over. Set this to about 5.5 inches. Choose ‘right’ alignment.
  • Select Option 2 for ‘leader’ (…..).
  • Click ‘Set’ then ‘Okay.’

Advanced: The process gets more complicated when you have several different kinds of tabs on one line. Say, a tab to enter spaces between the ‘1’ and ‘INTRODUCTION’, and then a tab for the leader dots. If the tabs stop working and you can’t set up the different kinds of tabs you want, just cheat and enter spaces. Use the ‘show code’ button (¶) and enter the same number of spaces each time.

Troubleshooting: If you have several tab stops set, and it’s not working, click ‘Clear all’ and then reenter the specific tabs you need.

Previous version of Word: The steps are the same, but the Tab dialogue box is under the Format menu.

Section Breaks

Section breaks are good for when you want to have one page show up landscaped, but everything else in portrait mode. Section breaks tell Word that you are creating a new section of your document, which might have different kinds of formatting than the rest of the document. You can use section breaks to have different kinds of page numbers throughout your document or have one landscaped page among portrait pages.

  • Go to the ‘Page Layout’ menu.
  • Go the ‘Page Setup’ menu.
  • Go to Breaks (upper right hand corner).
  • Select ‘Section Break’
    • ‘Next page’: Inserts a section break and starts the new section on the next page (this works for doing page numbers)
    • ‘Continuous’: Inserts a section break and starts the new section on the same page

To have a single landscaped page (for, say, an oversized figure or table), you will need two section breaks (next page). Insert one on the page before the figure and one on the same page. Then change the orientation for that page to landscaped. Sometimes the page numbers will re-start at 1 when you do this; go into “Format Page Number” and select “continue from previous section.”

Page Numbers

To review:

  • The first two pages of your Thesis have no numbers.
  • The third page is page ‘iii’
  • The rest of your front matter is also in roman numerals
  • The body of your thesis starts with ‘1’

You do this by setting up section breaks.

  • Add in section breaks (see above). Put a section break after the Approval Page and after the last page of your Front matter. Make sure it is a Section Break and not just an Page Break.
  • Go to the Insert menu, and select ‘ Page Number’
  • Select ‘Bottom of the page,’ ‘Plain number 2’ (centered number)
  • Go to page iii. Double-click on the number (now you have options and menus)
  • At the top menu, unselect Link to Previous. This is very important! You are now telling Word that the page numbers in your sections are different.
  • On the left, access ‘Page Number’ > ‘Format Page Numbers.
  • This is a dialogue box where you can select the style of numbers (roman or arabic) and even select which number it should start with (such as ‘iii’)
  • You should now have pages numbered 1, 2, iii, etc.
  • Go to the first section (your Title and Approval pages). Just delete the page numbers. This won’t affect the rest of the document because you’ve turned off ‘link to previous.’
  • Go to the first page of the body of your thesis. Open up the ‘Format Page Numbers’ dialogue box, set it to arabic numerals and starting with 1.

General Formatting Tips

  • Make sure you’re on the correct side of the Section Break line
  • Make sure it’s a section break and not just a page break.
  • Make sure the page numbers are the same font and size as the rest of the document.
  • Make sure ‘different first page’ and ‘different even/odd pages’ are not selected.
  • Make sure ‘link to previous’ is not selected (it’s okay if it’s selected for the other pages in the section; you just need to make sure the three sections aren’t linked)
  • If you still can’t figure it out, email the URP for help.